Missouri Football: Tigers who shined in loss to Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 07: Ish Witter /

As the Missouri Tigers prepare to visit Georgia, let’s take a final look at the best players from last week’s game at Kentucky, before moving on.

It’s not often that players receive praise following a loss, but this season, Missouri has struggled to find ways to be competitive, let alone win. We don’t usually give post-game grades, but the Tigers showed some determination and executed well on offense.

Missouri wasn’t able to pull off the upset win – understandably, a major point of contention among Tigers fans – but the good news is Mizzou had Kentucky on the ropes until the end of the game. Kentucky didn’t deliver a knockout punch to end the game, and had the officiating crew not made a crucial error with the game clock, this may have been a different story.

While the defense will not star in this post, it won’t go without any recognition. Linebacker Cale Garrett recorded his second career interception, and first INT of the season, while junior linebacker Terez Hall turned in an exceptional performance.

Missouri Tigers Football
Missouri Tigers Football /

Missouri Tigers Football

Hall made 12 tackles, 2.5 for loss, which brought his overall tackles for loss to 6.5, which is second to Kentrell Brothers’ tally of 12 TFLs.

Drew Lock

Quarterback Drew Lock has struggled to find a rhythm again, this year. That changed for at least one game, last Saturday. Lock turned in a solid performance with 355 passing yards and three touchdowns; a fourth TD, Lock carried in himself.

Lock threw his 40th TD against Kentucky, which ties him with former quarterback Blaine Gabbert, for fourth place in the team’s record book. Lock completed 22-of-44 pass attempts for a 146.9 QB rating.

While it was a much welcomed diversion from the frustrating style of play we usually see from Lock, we still want to see him be consistent and put up similar numbers on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, we will probably see a slump in Lock’s performance against Georgia’s defense.


While I don’t like to see good athletes get suspended from or, in this case, released from the team, perhaps Dimetrios Mason’s departure from the team provided a growth spurt for the Tigers, as junior wide receiver Emanuel Hall was given the nod to start.

Hall had a big day in his first start of the season; he had four catches for 129 yards and reeled in his first touchdown of the season, since the Tigers played Delaware State in 2016.

J’Mon Moore was also clutch in a number of third down situations. Moore added seven catches for 86 yards, while moving into 10th place on Missouri’s all-time career receiving yards list. To date, Moore has 398 receiving yards this year, averaging just over 20 yards per catch.

Johnathan Johnson also had a catch for a touchdown, which brought the Tigers’ total to four TDs on the day. As the receivers continue to grow, they could make the Tigers’ pass attack more lethal than ever.

My only gripe throughout the game, was offensive coordinator Josh Heupel rarely dialed up any short dump-of passes to the Tigers’ tight ends. In the NFL, tight ends are a highly desired commodity, and Missouri has two towering players at the position, who can chew up yardage for Missouri.

Running backs

Last, and certainly not least, the Tigers’ running backs were solid, save a lone fumble by Damarea Crockett, which immediately followed an interception by the Tigers’ defense.

While the turnover hurt, it’s not easy to pile on to Crockett, who has carried the offense for the majority of the time. Also, fumbling isn’t a typical characteristic of Crockett.

Against Kentucky, Crockett wound up not being the featured back that he typically is, based primarily on his size and ability to move and carry defenders. Crockett, who is almost halfway to a second 1,000-yard rushing season, had 12 carries for 74 yards.

Kentucky’s run defense, which was believed to be one of the better run defenses also allowed running back Ish Witter to rack-up 139 yards on 17 carries, and averaged 8.2 yards per carry. While Witter isn’t known for his brute strength, he has proven his ability to block, and has elusive speed and the ability to find gaps in defensive coverage.

Next: Tigers grow in loss to Kentucky

This week, Missouri prepares for its second road game, this one a tilt in Athens, GA, against the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia looks to be the team to beat in the East, and the Tigers will have their work cut-out, to even remain competitive as long as they did at Kentucky.